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There are two tutorials for my email program. Which should I use, POP3 or IMAP?

POP3 and IMAP are two different methods of retrieving e-mail. Which one you use will depend entirely on where you want your mail to be stored.



With POP3, your e-mail program takes messages off of the mail server and stores them locally on your computer. All of the messages you have downloaded will be available, even when offline. The downside to this is that, once downloaded, the messages are only available from that computer and cannot be viewed elsewhere.



With IMAP, your e-mail program leaves the messages on the server, only downloading the messages you tell it to. The messages stay on the server, and only a copy of what you have downloaded will remain on the local PC for viewing offline. This translates to better performance on slower connections. Your total mail storage, however, is limited to the amount of available mailbox space on the server. This has the advantage of working well with multiple computers, but has the disadvantage of storage limitations and limited offline access.


The majority of email users utilize POP3 for its straightforward setup and operation. However, if you need to check e-mail from multiple locations or devices, then IMAP is a good way to go. Choose whichever option works best for you.



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